You Can't Build Your People

Bob Correll | Sr. Consultant | Palmer Consulting Group
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I've always been a builder...

I still clearly remember that moment, down on my hands and knees in the soil pulling weeds from between the young plants. My wife and I had bought our first house and decided to plant a vegetable garden. We tilled, planted, watered, and fertilized, and the young plants (and weeds) were now growing.

I've always been a builder - building with Legos as a kid, building houses as a young carpenter, and building treatment plants as an engineer. Builders know what the finished product will look like, and progress is a matter of resources. We can always work longer, harder, and smarter to put the materials in their place faster.

But what struck me right then, in my garden, was that I couldn't build the plant. In fact, since sowing the seeds, I hadn't touched the plants at all. Instead, my job was to create the best environment for the plants to grow into their own shape at their own pace. The plants would grow themselves. Gardening requires a completely different mindset than building.

We Can't Build People

I've learned that developing people has a lot more in common with gardening than with building. We builders often fool ourselves into thinking we can crash the schedule of our employees' development; that we can control what the "finished product" will look like. The truth is, we can't build people. Instead, like a gardener, we need to focus on creating the best environment and culture so that our people can grow into their shape at their time.

If you're ready to start shaping your organization's or team's culture for top performance, you can learn more about our approach here. You can also reach out directly.

Bob Correll is a Sr. Business Consultant with Palmer Consulting Group's Implementation Consulting team. Learn more about Palmer's Implementation Consulting Services.